Hiring Great Minds & Making Them Think Alike

Sam Fletcher, Research Team Leader

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The benefits of having a diverse workforce are now commonly accepted with many businesses having invested significantly in ensuring their hiring strategy takes into account diversity hiring. Most industries have now progressed in the maturity model from implementing recruitment practices to hire more diverse candidates to promoting inclusion.

For the most part, this is where the majority of diversity and inclusion programmes have reached and we find ourselves slapping ourselves on the back for the work we’ve done so far and starting to ask the big question: what do we do next?

Awards are handed out and people are excited to promote that the company interviews from diverse shortlists or that 30% of their management are women having mostly forgotten why they started to address diversity in the first place.

Having a diverse workforce leads to commercial benefit in a myriad of ways. Businesses benefit from hiring the best available staff regardless of their gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation. Diversity of thought leads to new ideas, innovation and challenging the usual ways of working to evolve a business. By measuring the percentage of key demographics in your business and applauding your internal network and career coaching, you’re holding up a very rough yardstick to your efforts that serves well as a PR exercise but only assumes a result.

Hiring someone from a minority demographic is no guarantee of diversity…

The problem with diversity and inclusion is that most companies have good intentions to recruit and include diverse staff but end up shooting themselves in the foot.

Hiring managers are given diverse shortlists to hire from but still hire people that think in the same way as them and still place a very high value on what they deem to be cultural fit.

Unconscious bias leads hiring managers to prefer candidates who mirror their thinking and most will hire the candidate they deem to be most like them, reducing the diversity of thought being brought into the business.

Once on board, diverse hires are placed on progression programs, coached by more senior staff and included in internal networking groups. The good intentions here in promoting inclusiveness result in conditioning the new hire to the company way of thinking and the company culture, further preventing the company from making the most of a new hire with new ideas and experience.

The Solution
The first way companies can progress in diversity and inclusion is through removing the drive towards percentages of demographics, addressing the external perception of the company as a vanity project. Companies should instead focus on genuinely eliminating bias, whether conscious or unconscious and aim towards ensuring true diversity.

How do we achieve this? By assessing for diversity of thought in new hires and match gaps through an analysis and profiling of existing teams rather than working towards demographic percentages.

Companies can also give new hires key roles, acting as mentors to existing staff or managing significant change projects to ensure new ideas are evaluated and embedded rather than overruled by company culture.

Regardless, any step companies take in increasing diversity and inclusion is a good thing. Now that businesses have made inroads into realising the benefits of diversity hiring and becoming an inclusive place to work, it’s time the diversity agenda evolved to realise the full potential of a truly diverse workforce.

To find out how 6 Group can help your business unlock the commercial benefits of a more comprehensive approach to diversity and inclusion, get in touch.

 

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